Blackjack is one of the easiest games to learn of all casino card games. The object is simple – develop a hand that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, without going over 21. Of course, there are certain guidelines that must be followed, by the player and dealer alike (mostly the dealer). We’ll teach you how to play Blackjack in a quick, easy to understand way that will have you at the tables in no time.
How to Play Blackjack – Set Up
Blackjack can be played by one to five players, and one dealer, using anywhere from 1 to 8 standard decks of 52 playing cards. In most casinos, it is more common to play 4-deck, 6-deck or 8-deck Blackjack. It is important to note that, no matter how many decks of cards the dealer uses, Blackjack strategies remain the same.
How to Play Blackjack – Card Values
Before you can play Blackjack, you must know the value of each card in the deck. The card values are as follows:
Ace = 1 or 11
Face Card = 10
2-10 = Face Value
How to Play Blackjack – Playing the Game
In Blackjack, the number of players at the table does not matter. You are competing only with the dealer, as are all other players.
Before you can receive cards, you must place a bet. Note the table limits when you arrive. These will tell you the minimum and maximum bet you can place before a hand begins. If the limits are $1-$100, you can place a bet anywhere from $1 to $100.
When the next hand begins, assuming you’ve placed a bet, you will be dealt two cards. These cards may be dealt face up or face down, it does not matter. The dealer also receives two cards; the first face down, the second face up.
Look at your cards and decide what you would like to do:
Hit: Take an additional card.
Stand: Take no more cards, keeping the total value of cards as is.
Double: To Double Down is to double the size of your bet, taking one only more card.
Split: To Split your cards is to double your current bet by splitting an exact pair. If your cards are not paired, you may not split. A proper split would be a hand like 7+7, 10+10, K+K, etc. You may not split two face cards that do not match (i.e. J-K). The two cards are separated and one more card is dealt onto each, creating two hands, with one bet on each. The first hand is played out as normal. Once you Stand (or Bust) on the first you, you will play the second hand as normal.
Bust: If your hand exceeds 21 at any time, you have busted, resulting in an automatic loss.
How to Play Black – Other Betting Options
There are other options you may be able to take advantage of in blackjack. They are:
Insurance: If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, you will be asked if you want to purchase Insurance. Insurance costs ½ of your original bet, so if you bet $10, insurance will be $5. If you choose to purchase insurance, the dealer will then check his face-down card to see if he has blackjack. If he does, your original bet is lost, but the insurance bet is paid 2:1 (break even). If the insurance bet is lost, the hand continues as normal.
How to Play Blackjack – Dealer’s Rules
The dealer is forced to follow very strict rules of hand development. This is where the casino gains the house edge over the player. The guidelines for the dealer’s hand are as follows:
-If the dealer’s hand is equal to or below 16, he/she must Hit.
-If the dealer’s hand is equal to or above 17, he/she must Stand.
-Soft 17 Rule: If the dealer’s hand equals 17, including an Ace that is counted as 11 (ex: A-6), he/she must Hit.
-Bust: If the dealer’s hand busts, he/she automatically loses and must pay 1:1 odds to any player who remains active in the hand.
How to Play Blackjack – Winning Conditions
-If the player’s hand is higher than the dealer’s hand, the player wins, Paid 1:1.
-If the dealer’s hand is higher than the player’s hand, the dealer wins, taking the player’s full bet.
-If the dealer’s and player’s hands tie, it is a Push. The player’s bet is returned.
-Blackjack: If the player gets Blackjack (Ace+10/Face Card), the player’s bet is paid 1.5:1
Note: A Blackjack is not just a hand equal to 21. It must be achieved with only two cards, including an Ace and any card valued at 10 (10 or Face Card).